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Monday, August 01, 2005

Battle Lines Drawn Between iTunes and Cell Phone Companies

In the wake of watching Apple's iPod music player become the favorite mobile device among users throughout the United States, cell phone makers are ready to strike back. They plan to join forces with record labels in order to bring more music than ever to mobile phones, which overwhelmingly outnumber iPods and all other purchased MP3 players. Over 170 million people use cell phones. That number includes 80% of the entire population of Europe. The sale of ring tones -- sounds or songs which play in place of a traditional telephone ring -- netted $4.1 billion dollars last year, leading phone companies to believe that the mobile sale of music is a viable sales avenue.

Apple isn't leaving this market alone, though. In spite of a deal with Motorola last year which never materialized, their new version of iTunes hints at an upcoming cell phone compatible with their service. Usually-hidden files within the iTunes program "include messages such as 'Automatically choose songs for my mobile phone' and 'The name of my mobile phone is.'" This isn't a new phenomenom at Apple; other programs have been packaged with features that aren't apparent until a later hardware version appears.


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